By Matthew Boyle | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Matthew Boyle
PHOTO CAPTION: Chairman of Flagler College’s board of trustees and chairman and president of Ring Power Corp. Randal Ringhaver (right) endorses U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio (left) during a speech at Ring Power’s St. Augustine plant yesterday.
Ring Power President and Chairman Randal Ringhaver endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio yesterday during a press conference at Ring Power’s St. Augustine factory near World Golf Village.
Ringhaver, who also serves as the chairman of Flagler College’s board of trustees, has never publicly endorsed a U.S. Senate candidate. He said he trusts Rubio to follow through on election promises even if he’s in office for a while.
“Unfortunately, a lot of these people get to Congress and they forget about why and how they got there and who they represent,” Ringhaver said.
Rubio emphasizes cutting government spending and government involvement in the economy.
Ringhaver likes Rubio’s small-government attitude.
In his speech yesterday, Rubio laid out 10 goals he plans to achieve if he wins the election.
He wants to freeze growth of government spending, set targets for cutting spending, set discretionary spending programs to expire every 10 years, ban earmarks, freeze civilian hiring at federal level, cut the budgets of the White House and Congress by 10 percent, give the president the power of line-item veto, end the TARP bailout programs, use leftover TARP money on the deficit or private-sector investments and reform Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.
The Ring Power plant employees applauded after Rubio said he wanted to end TARP bailout programs.
“This election’s not a simple choice between Republicans and Democrats,” Rubio said. “The 2010 election is basically a referendum about the identity of our country.”
Rubio said he wants to freeze funding to domestic programs as well, something that may take a toll on road construction, highway construction and mass transit construction. Rubio thinks it’s a risk he’s willing to take.
“It will create confidence in the private sector, hopefully,” Rubio said. “It’s the private sector investment that will lead to more construction and more growth in our economy. There’s a balancing act between your tax policies and your spending policies.”
One of Rubio’s most pressing concerns is the national deficit.
“This high debt load is going to lead to higher interest rates and higher taxes,” he said.
He said the national deficit will continue to grow and affect future generations.
“The United States government spends more money than it takes in,” Rubio said. “It’s as simple as that. You can’t do that for long without getting into trouble.”
Rubio said stimulus funds have helped the economy but only in a short-term way.
“What we’re looking for is permanence, sustainable growth,” he said. “Not just in this company but in our economy.”
Ringhaver hasn’t publicly endorsed a candidate before Rubio but he believes Rubio can change the economic landscape in Washington. Also, the recession has hit hard on his company. He said Ring Power has laid off about 800 of its 2,400 employees companywide.
“We’ve had to reduce salaries,” Ringhaver said. “We had a voluntary and an involuntary separation plan for employees that had tenure with the company. We’ve had to do away with our profit-sharing plan, our 401k plan and our health care benefits have had to be modified significantly to reduce costs and we’ve sold assets.”
Ringhaver said Ring Power hasn’t benefited from any stimulus funding, either.
Rubio is bidding for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat against Gov. Charlie Crist.